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Archived News from March 2005

7th March 2005 18:59

Evening Post, 07 March 2005
Carlton Palmer says he was seriously considering walking out on Mansfield Town at the weekend - after negative chanting from Stags fans during the 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury Town.

But he says he won't let the fans force him out of a job.

"I was upset after the game," he said. "But I've spoken to the chairman and the directors and people I respect in football and if the chairman wants to get rid of me, it will have to be for football reasons.

"I'm back at work today. The chairman doesn't want me to go and I'm not going to let the fans get to me and bow to that.

"I think I have done well since I've come here. But the supporters are affecting the players. Instead of turning up to support the team on Saturday, they turned up to have a go at me - that's the way it seems to me.

"We were poor against Shrewsbury, but it's no coincidence that we're winning away from home and not getting results at home.

"I've come in at a difficult time and I've worked for free for three months. And I've worked very hard.

"My record speaks for itself. I've got a better record than Keith Curle had in his first 18 games and a better record than previous managers. All I ask is that I'm given an opportunity.

"I'm disappointed with the supporters. I understand their frustration, but what happened with Keith Curle has got nothing to do with me.

"He inherited a good side, but he didn't really bring anyone in.

"I'm trying to build a young team. But the fans have picked on Fraser McLachlan and unsettled him. He can't play at home now.

"I've been brave enough to make decisions about players who haven't been doing it and I've been vilified for it. I'm trying to bring in good young players. But instead of the supporters getting behind the team they are having a go and it does affect the players."

Palmer admitted he wasn't happy with his side's performance against Shrewsbury.

"I had a go at the players at half-time," he said. "I asked them to give me commitment and I felt they did that in the second half.

"There was an improvement, but I had a go at Luke Dimech after the game for the goal because I don't think he needed to come out. We were lucky because in the first half the game could have been out of our sight."


Evening Post, 07 March 2005
Mansfield Town 1 v 1 Shrewsbury Town

For the second week running, the big talking point is about an off-pitch matter.

The trip to Rushden and Diamonds was dominated by Derek Asamoah's bust-up with Carlton Palmer.

This time, all the talk is about Palmer himself.

After the game, the manager admitted that negative chants towards him and his players had affected him.

So much so that he said he was seriously considering walking away from Mansfield.

But Palmer now says he will only leave if the chairman asks him to go.

If Palmer is not the new manager of Mansfield Town, some fans will be pleased and will no doubt believe venting their feelings towards the caretaker- manager contributed to his exit.

But Palmer says if he decides to go, it won't be because of fans chanting that they want him out.

This highlights a bigger issue at Field Mill, though.

There is the danger that, if Palmer is not the new manager, Stags fans will have to endure even more disruption.

If that happens, there could be an element of biting off noses to spite faces. Palmer has admitted he has been trying to rebuild the side.

His exit could mark a backwards step in that process - initially at least - although some supporters think it's time for the club to cut its losses.

Palmer's exit could have a negative effect on Stags' fading promotion chances.

Mansfield are still fighting for a play-off spot, although Saturday's result left them seven points adrift of seventh place, with only ten games left.

A section of fans have made it clear to Palmer from the outset that they don't want him.

One of his big gripes is that they are not giving him a chance.

He says they are being unfair to players like Fraser McLachlan - and that their criticism of the midfielder is having an adverse affect on his performances.

He has also talked about taking on the role as a favour, and said he doesn't need the hassle.

It is a marked contrast from the tail-end of last week, when Palmer's appointment until the end of next season appeared imminent.

But his message to Stags fans is clear. He won't be influenced by the boo-boys.

Palmer says the fans are merely hindering the team and insists he is doing a good job.

He maintains the side's useful away form and poor run of results at home backs his view that the supporters should get behind their side, rather than criticise him and certain players.

Palmer did admit it was a poor display against Shrewsbury, but believes the atmosphere created by the fans contributed to their downfall.

At times, negative chants by away fans towards the Stags and Palmer were echoed by similar chanting by the home side's fans.

The mood of fans depends on results - and Mansfield's home form is poor. There can be few arguments about that.

They pay their money to see the team they support play and they are happier when their side is winning.

And there hasn't been a lot for them to get excited about at Field Mill during Palmer's reign.

The Stags have managed just two wins in ten home games since Palmer took charge and just one point from their last three games at Field Mill.

The defence has been solid in recent weeks, but it hasn't been happening for the Stags at the other end.

Richie Barker continues to perform consistently, win headers and knock the ball down, but typically there is nobody there to capitalise.

The last time Mansfield managed more than one goal at home was against Notts County - and that was five months ago.

Even Alex Neil's first league goal for Mansfield was something of a freak strike. It came out of the blue in the second half when Neil took a shot, off balance, as a challenge came in. His effort took a deflection and wrong-footed Shrewsbury keeper Scott Howie.

As if to rub salt in the Stags' wounds, it was Luke Rodgers - who has recently rediscovered his goal-scoring form after a run of 18 games without a goal - who secured a draw for the visitors.

In the circumstances, Mansfield can be grateful for a point. They were hanging on at the end.

But that is one reason why so many Stags fans were unhappy.

And, as far as the manager's position is concerned, we are ultimately back to where we were at the end of last week, with Palmer poised to get the job.

Man of the match: Alex Neil.

Evening Post, 07 March 2005

Dave ARTELL sees a specialist today and is hopeful he will be back in action early next month.

The Stags defender, who was hospitalised with a deep vein thrombosis, said: "I'm optimistic I will get the all-clear today and be back in action in a few weeks. I'm staying positive: I've always said I will play again before the season is out.

"Competition for places is good and I've got to work my socks off and try to impress the manager."

He added: "We need to start winning home games. One point from three home games is not good enough.

"Luckily we've been picking up points away and we're still not out of the race. It only needs two or three wins and we'll be back in the frame.

"The highlight of the season is that the defence has been so good over the past two or three months, but it's taken the edge off at the other end."


Rodgers' revival is set to be halted

Rejuvenated Shrewsbury striker Luke Rodgers is set to see his recent resurgence in form halted by a frustrating two-match ban.

Rodgers was the Town hero on Saturday, netting the equaliser to seal a thoroughly deserved point in the 1-1 Coca-Cola League Two draw at Mansfield.

That was the 23-year-old's third goal in four outings after emerging from the leanest spell of his career which produced 18 games without finding the target.

But the joy at Rodgers rediscovering his scoring touch has been tempered by news that the frontman will be ruled out of the next two games, against promotion-chasing Macclesfield and Lincoln, after picking up his 10th yellow card of the campaign.

Rodgers was booked for what referee Brian Curzon perceived as over-elaborate celebrations in the aftermath of his equaliser.

And that decision was enough to add to the frustration of manager Gary Peters, who was disappointed his team did not return from Field Mill with all three points.

"It was a silly booking and not really on Luke's part," said Peters.

"Luke didn't do anything stupid like take his shirt off but the ref said he booked him for his celebrations. That's hard to take because the lad has scored a very important goal in front of his own fans and was jubilant."

Lady luck fails to travel once again

Mansfield 1 Shrewsbury Town 1

Shrewsbury Town's team coach must be developing a habit of running over black cats en route to away matches. Because there is no other way to explain the misfortune arguably the most improved outfit in Coca-Cola League Two are suffering on their travels.

Now we can add Mansfield to that ever-growing 'what might have been' list.

Make no mistake, a point at Field Mill is a more than respectable return. But Peters and his team will have spent the weekend cursing two more points which slipped through their grasp away from Gay Meadow.

For all but a 20-minute spell immediately after half-time, the visitors were comfortably the more accomplished team and could have been out of sight by half-time.

Inevitably for a side who had waited 43 minutes to even test Scott Howie, Mansfield improved after the break.

But despite the application of something approaching pressure, there was no sign of the deadlock being broken by the hosts until Alex Neil's 65th minute drive took a horribly cruel deflection off Darren Tinson.

But there is no soft underbelly to Shrewsbury Town under Peters and, despite Ritchie Barker and Gareth Jellyman both testing Howie, the visitors steadfastedly refused to buckle.

Langmead twice broke into promising positions before seeing his shots blocked by desperate late lunges, before Rodgers conjured up his third goal in four games.

Sam Aiston, released from the bench with 23 minutes remaining, was the architect as he produced a fine run and cross to allow the back-to-form striker to slot home from eight yards for a more than deserved equaliser.


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